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Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) is a social commentary on class and conventional mores in late nineteenth century Victorian England. It is a comical play and relies on farce and absurdity to catch the audience’s attention. Comedy is often used in the theater to communicate salient social commentary, and Wilde uses this strategy effectively in Earnest. In this essay, I will evaluate Wilde’s play by teasing out the tension the characters manifest in the text by their different forms of acting out a double life. I will also show the parallels between this theme as it plays out in the context of the play and how the fictional universe of a comedy of errors relates to the social mores of today....
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